Building chapters of change

Chief Master Sgt. Patricia Ford, 50th Network Operations Group superintendent. (Courtesy photo)

Chief Master Sgt. Patricia Ford, 50th Network Operations Group superintendent. (Courtesy photo)


Every couple of years, 50th Space Wing Airmen experience a massive influx of change. 

For example, we are kicking off the wing’s biggest season of change with change of command ceremonies. 

Throughout the year, members are coming and going, moving to the daily battle rhythm of change as part of the military way of life.  As members of the United States Air Force, we’ve grown accustomed to change, we say farewell to colleagues and friends who have been built through good and hard times, and welcome new, energized members to take the reins and keep the mission and people driving forward. 

The Four Rooms of Change, a theory prompted by Claes Janssen’s, psychologist, to address how people deal with change, outlines a four-bedroom apartment containing the four mindsets we go through when presented with change, the rooms being: comfort, denial, confusion and renewal. 

Each one of us will go through these stages during the next few months as old leaders say farewell and new leaders take command.  Summer assignment rotations will be in full effect, with many members moving to new locations and new faces appearing on base. 

Your first experience with change is when you entered the world.  From that point on, you started your book, also known as memories.  I like to think of memories as a book which highlights your ‘chapters of change.’ 

These chapters have been molded throughout your lives by experiences, people and places you’ve encountered.  Your book will continue to build as your experiences change and new chapters are added. If you go back in time and read your ‘chapters of change,’ you’ll notice each one of the Janssen’s stages of change.  Sometimes change is not wanted, but is necessary in order for you to grow, develop and challenge yourself. 

A quote, from Flight of the Buffalo, that best describes this is, “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have – and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving it up.”  Sometimes change is welcomed, because you want to see or be more. 

As Winston Churchill quoted, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Change is inevitable.  Remember, not all people will quickly adapt to the changes that confront them, while others may easily move through the stages, ready to tackle change head on.

However, you handle change, and each person is accountable for their attitudes with change.  You are building ‘chapters of change’ for yourself and the people around you.  You can affect how their books are built and the chapters written in them.

During the next two months, the 50 SW will say farewell to amazing leaders and Airmen devoted to the space and cyberspace mission here at Schriever Air Force Base.  But as great leaders and Airmen leave, we welcome new members ready to continue the challenge and innovation our wing, groups and squadrons have been charged to do.  As members leave to new assignments, jobs or retirement, they are additions to your and their own books, building ‘chapters of change.’ 

However you deal with the changes in your life, you need to be ready to take care of each other and remember, the words of Alan Watts, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”